Rights and Duties: We often talk about rights, but do you know what does the term ‘rights’ mean? Rights are rules of interaction between people. They place constraints and obligations upon the actions of the state and individuals or groups. For example, if one has a right to life, this means that others do not have the liberty to kill him or her. Rights are defined as claims of an individual that are essential for the development of his or her own self and that are recognized by society or State. These are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement and are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed to people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are often considered fundamental to civilization, being regarded as established pillars of society and culture.


But the rights have real meaning only if individuals perform duties. A duty is something that someone is expected or required to do. Parents, for example, have a duty to take care of their children. You have duties towards your parents. A teacher has a duty to educate students. In fact, rights and duties are two wheels on which the chariot of life moves forward smoothly. Life can become smoother if rights and duties go hand in hand and become complementary to each other. Rights are what we want others to do for us whereas the duties are those acts which we should perform for others. Thus, a right comes with an obligation to show respect for the rights of others. The obligations that accompany rights are in the form of duties. If we have the right to enjoy public facilities like transport or health services, it becomes our duty to allow others to avail the same. If we have the right to freedom, it becomes our duty not to misuse this and harm others.




As we have seen, rights are claims that are essential for the existence and development of individuals. In that sense, there will be a long list of rights. Whereas all these are recognized by society, some of the most important rights are recognized by the State and enshrined in the Constitution. Such rights are called fundamental rights. These rights are fundamental because of two reasons. First, these are mentioned in the Constitution which guarantees them and the second, these are justiciable, i.e. enforceable through courts. Being justiciable means that in case of their violation, the individual can approach courts for their protection. If a government enacts a law that restricts any of these rights, it will be declared invalid by courts. Such rights are provided in Part III of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows: (i) right to equality, (ii) right to freedom, (iii) right against exploitation, (iv) right to freedom of religion, (v) cultural and educational rights, and (vi) right to constitutional remedies. While these fundamental rights are universal, the Constitution provides for some exceptions and restrictions.


Also read:  Minority Educational Rights


Some Important Links:

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